In BBMP budget, Karnataka CM’s stamp and a green push for Bengaluru

BENGALURU: The BBMP Budget, presented on Saturday, turned out to be a replica of Siddaramaiah’s state budget as it ticked the right boxes: offer sops for the urban poor, regain Bengaluru’s green cover and address its parking and garbage problems. With assembly elections next year, predictably no new taxes were announced in the 9,214-crore budget. On the infrastructure front, proposals were a mere rehash of all that already spelt out in the state budget.

With an eye on the urban poor vote bank, the Budget presented by Taxation and Finance Committee president M K Gunashekar announced affordable treatment and social welfare schemes like free medicines and stents and setting up of new super specialty hospitals and dialysis centres.

As part of its green push, at least 15 per cent of the budget allocation, Rs 1,397 crore, has been set aside to improve and develop urban forestry. While 10 lakh new saplings and 210 parks will add to the green cover, he has also proposed public participation in increasing green cover of the city via mobile app. Citizens can request saplings to be planted in their locality and also monitor them.

For a garbage-free Bengaluru, at least 10 per cent of the total allocation, or Rs 898 crore, has been earmarked to handle solid waste, up from `633 crore the previous year. Restrooms for pourakarmikas and compost-making lessons for citizens are on the agenda. Compost purchases too will be popularised.

Parking woes got some attention with tax rebates proposed for those building public parking lots.
Pouravahinis, who will keep tabs on the budget implementations periodically, are a new creation. This Budget also pitched for a separate legislation to govern Bengaluru.